EU - Copa-Cogeca called at EU Farm Ministers Informal meeting this week for measures that benefit the environment at the same time as being economically viable in order to meet the needs of a growing world population set to rise by over two billion in less than 40 years.
The move came as Ministers debated a new paper drawn up by the Italian Presidency on “How EU agriculture can contribute to the food security challenge."
Speaking in Milan, Cogeca President Christian Pees stressed: “The topic we are debating today is an important one. In a world where around 805 million men, women and children suffer from hunger and where the global population is growing every day, achieving food security and stability in a sustainable manner is a major global challenge, and one where we must not fail."
Outlining areas where urgent action is necessary, Mr Pees said: “Market stability must be improved to enable farmers and agri-cooperatives to be able to make production plans. We need to deal with the increasingly volatile agricultural prices and supplies with effective safety nets for producers and access to tools to protect farmers against risks."
“The fact that we operate on a global market and that today’s European prices are aligned with world prices also means that we need greater market information and transparency at global level. With timely signals on agricultural stocks and prices, the sector could react more quickly. The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is a positive first initiative. The European External Action Service will provide a good basis to begin creating a network of independent European intelligence on the state of agriculture and food the world over," he said.
He continued: “Producer organisations, such as agri-cooperatives, should also be encouraged as they enable farmers to join forces to market their produce, and ultimately increase the efficiency of the food chain. By buying inputs together and grouping supply, farmers’ organisations can better cope with extreme market volatility, both in terms of inputs and outputs. This also creates added value and greater returns."
Maira Dzelzkaleja, Vice-President of Copa who has been running a family farm in Latvia since 1991, went on to say: “Rising world food demand, combined with increasing constraints for land and water, as well as climate change and unstable political conditions such as the recent trade embargo will not make things easy. Natural resources are finite. What’s more, climate change will not only bring about long-term temperature changes, but will also cause more frequent extreme weather events, with risks of crop failure or disease. Meeting demand for more food and feed, at a higher quality and with health benefits and greater diversity is consequently an enormous challenge, but it is not an impossible one. Appropriate and immediate efforts are needed."
“The recent CAP reform missed the boat and failed to hold a veritable political debate on what we in Copa-Cogeca have promoted as “green growth”, namely providing farmers with win-win solutions that benefit the environment and support an economically viable agricultural sector. Green growth is key for a competitive, sustainable and resource-efficient farming sector. I truly urge the EU not miss the opportunity to launch this debate again," she stressed.
Wrapping up, Mr Pees said “Above all, ensuring that farmers and their cooperatives receive better returns for their products and that they have sufficient financial security and stability to invest in the future is the best way to reduce hunger and achieve food security in the long term."
TheCropSite News Desk